Beyonce shocked and awed everyone this week when she unexpectedly released her all-new, fifth album late on Thursday, 12 December. The surprise release was meant to get people talking, and more importantly to get people buying, and the latest forecasts for next week's album charts seems to indicate that this is exactly what has happened.

Beyonce released Beyonce as a 'visual album'

According to Billboard, the iTunes exclusive 'visual album' has been steadily climbing up the Billboard 200 since it was released this week, despite only being available through iTunes at present. Beyonce apparently sold 80,000 copies in its first three hours alone and has been continuing this impressive sales projection ever since. With sales being added up and calculated for Sunday night, to be revealed on Wednesday (18 Dec.), that should have left Beyonce enough time to secure the top stop, however she does face competition for No. 1.

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Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades Of Influences by Garth Brooks, last week's No. 1, sits as the only real contender to keep Bey from the top spot, with his CD and DVD compilation expected to shift 150,000-160,000 units by the end of the week. Bey has had only three days to break this projected sales figure, with only iTunes to sell her wares through, however by Friday night Bey was already at the halfway mark, which makes catching up with Brooks seem all the more possible.

Beyonce promo
Each song on the self-titled album comes with its own video

The release of the album came as an undoubted surprise to many, including those at her Sony record label. The album was apparently so heavily guarded that only a select few members of Sony Records' head offices were made aware of the release, with even fewer people outside the record industry being told about the release.

The top of the Billboard 200 chart is revealed on Wednesday, 18 December, when we shall let you know whether Queen Bey is back at the top, or whether she'll have to wait until still makes the album more widely available to score her next No. 1 success.

Beyonce album
No plans have been announced by Bey to release the album outside iTunes